One of the things that keeps me working in the aging services field is the camaraderie of my colleagues. They demonstrate a tremendous commitment to and appreciation for Elders and their care partners, an awareness of the Elders’ stories as sacred treasures to be held by us with care, and an intuition that the health care system in which we all work is terribly broken.
It was my honor to meet with such a group of dedicated peers recently, at the “Best Practices in Home Care Showcase.” The event was hosted by the Steuben County Office for Aging in the Southern Tier of New York, the Steuben Senior Services Fund, and NYCONNECTS. Attendees included representatives of home health organizations, case managers for senior apartments, advocates for people living with developmental disabilities, the faith community, and wise Elders.
They are all seeking better ways to serve Elders and their families, and thirsty to work together in a way that honors the need of everyone involved to grow.
It can be a big challenge to introduce the philosophy of The Eden Alternative to a group, when time is limited and the important work of culture change is the goal. With the “Eden at Home” initiative, we are helping people recognize how culturally pervasive ageism contributes to the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom; introducing a new definition of care as well as the concept of empowered care partner teams (with the Elder at the center of decision-making); and showing how the antidotes to the plagues can be applied in home and community-based settings.
The talk culminated with a showing of a powerful, person-directed “video care plan,” with thanks to Haleigh Jane Thomas and her parents, Dr. Bill and Jude Thomas.
Even with limited time, these concepts speak for themselves. Knowing there is a philosophy that provides a framework for every member of the team, (Elder, family, and professional alike), to speak a common language and truly make the shift to person-directed care can invigorate a community.
There is a lot of buzz in Steuben County about the possibility of hosting a Certified Eden at Home Trainer workshop in 2013, and many at the “Best Practices in Home Care Showcase” indicated they would attend.
This three day workshop cultivates culture change agents for participating organizations, while providing the tools needed to offer Care Partner Workshops in our agencies and for the wider community.
Have you participated in an Eden at Home training yet? With the vast majority of Elders living in their own homes, in retirement communities, or with family members, the implementation of The Eden Alternative principles can accelerate the pace of culture change and transform care for all of us.
There are currently Certified Eden at Home Trainer workshops planned in Las Vegas, NV, and Toledo, OH. Find out more HERE
Lisa Kendall is an Educator for The Eden Alternative, teaches for the Ithaca College Gerontology Institute, and manages her own counseling and consulting practice in Ithaca, NY.